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Just Delivered Dec 5, 2021

If you're a retail supply chain executive, you may be too burned out to enjoy the fact that your world is suddenly sexy, and your profession is on the tip of everyones' tongues.

You also know that technology investment isn't a quick fix for the current crisis, but making the retail supply chain more efficient and resilient is mandatory in order to prevent future crises. 

That's where Shoptalk comes in. As the retail and e-commerce industry's leading innovation event, Shoptalk has a special ability to match leading supply chain technology vendors with the executives that are making change happen. Whether in person at Shoptalk (March 27-30) or online during Shoptalk Supply Chain Meetup (April 26-28), Shoptalk is pleased to bring the retail community the content and connections you need to soar.  Leading up to those events, please be on the lookout for this weekly newsletter bringing you news and factoids from the supply chain frontier as well as event content updates. 


Big Hack Attacks

Hackers pounce when a crisis arrives on the global scene. The world’s supply chains have become the latest target for cyber thieves. Since the spring of 2020, ransomware attacks on shipping and logistics companies have shot up.

Cybersecurity firm, BlueVoyant reported that 93% of global organizations had a direct data breach due to digital vulnerabilities in management of supply chains. In last 12 months, the average number of breaches grew from 2.7 in 2020 to 3.7 in 2021—that's a 37% increase. A 2020 3D Hubs’ report discovered that 72% of companies it studied were cyber attacked—disrupting their supply chains.

In 2021, cyber hackers have targeted and disrupted major supply chain organizations and companies like Colonial Pipeline, Brenntag, Marten Transport, and the Port of Houston.


New Kid on the Block

Blockchain, the digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies, is gaining traction in supply chain management. It offers the promise of facilitating faster, more cost-efficient deliveries of products, boosting the traceability of products shipped, aiding in financing, and enhancing the coordination of vendors and partners.

One company, Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), is using a permissioned blockchain to speed up the digital transformation of the shipping industry.  Bloomberg reports that the GSBN’s Cargo Release slashed the traditionally manual process of documentation exchange at the Shanghai port to less than two hours, well below the customary three days. The digital data exchange removed the physical process of documentation lines and in-person interactions.

GSBN has good company in its efforts to utilize the blockchain in supply chain transformation. FedEx integrated blockchain to improve traceability in its chain of custody and provide a record of trust to help address customer disputes.

Walmart's technology partner, Hyperledger Fabric, is helping the retail giant to trace mangoes in the U.S and pork sold in Walmart’s Chinese markets.

Bottom line: Although all the buzz is on bitcoin, blockchain as a platform offers greater visibility, efficiency, and trust across the supply chains of the world. Stay tuned. 


The last mile in the supply chain is the focus of digital transformation. Our latest feature in our newsletter will be a look at innovative technologies, business models, and startups shaking up the last mile for retailers and consumers. This week we look at two drone companies.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle!

DroneDek – DroneDek’s “mailbox of the future” makes deliveries by drones. This Indiana company’s innovative mailbox eliminates the need to send delivery trucks through dense neighborhoods. Instead the DroneDek drones take the shortest route and drop off deliveries contained inside their smart receptacles.

This high-tech mailbox uses an authentication model to allow only the product recipient to retrieve their package. In addition to the authentication feature, the mailboxes have capabilities such as two-way communications, heating, and cooling, thereby upping the delivery diversity to everything from groceries to medications, to even piping-hot pizza.

Matternet – Drone services by Matternet first started in the remote regions of Bhutan and Papua New Guinea, delivering medical supplies and blood samples in areas difficult to land larger aircraft. Their early success in these rural areas provided the company with invaluable knowledge and financial resources to expand their business model. Now, the company is planning to operate their drones in congested city centers.

Their drones are small in profile and lightweight and designed to carry about 4.5 pounds within a 14-mile area. Matternet’s drone air transportation network includes the aircraft, an air-traffic control network, and 24/7 monitoring. Plans call for 50-100 nodes that will send and receive packages.


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